For the first time, a UK financial services regulator will have a statutory duty to enhance financial education in the UK. The Financial Services Authority is now beginning to set out in some detail how it will go about fulfilling that duty, and the issues it faces. As well as increasing consumer awareness of the financial industry and improving consumers’ ability to identify their financial needs, the FSA also aims to enable consumers decide upon the purchase of financial products through the provision of the FSA’s own information and advice – what may be referred to as a form of ‘solution education’. This will place the FSA in a relationship with the general public where the rights, responsibilities and expectations of, and upon, consumers must be made clear and accepted. The inability of the current regulatory regime to establish unequivocally what constitutes adequate or appropriate advice does not augur well.
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